strength

I wrote a blog post in early January as I was doing some personal planning for the coming year. I had used the words in Mark 12 to guide my goal-setting as I thought through what it means to love God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Basically, I used this passage to direct my steps toward emotional, spiritual, mental and physical health because I believe God wants me to be the very best version of the person he created. He has a vision for my life, and I want to do all I can to become that person and do those things he prepared for me beforehand (Ephesians 2:10).


I set some good goals for 2021, and I was going to tell you all about it.


But that is not the post you are reading today. I paused after a discussion with my husband. Then some prodding from God veered me in a slightly different direction. I am still working on some of the goals I set at the beginning of the year, but I have also been doing a lot of reflection. I have been asking questions of God, of myself, and of the people who know me best.


In Deuteronomy 6, Moses speaks to the people of Israel exactly what God told him. In Mark 12, Jesus quotes Moses when he answers a question about what is the most important thing we should do as human beings who propose to follow God. Jesus says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all our strength." It's a beautiful command and one I have heard many times, but when Chad taught it several weeks ago, it landed on my differently.


And I have been completely wrecked by it ever since.


What does it mean to love God with my strength? And what are my strengths? What am I good at? What make me passionate? In what do I want to invest my time and energy? I enjoy so many aspects of this life, and I am often trying to pursue so many things that I do not do any of them as well as I could. But I don't want to love God with a half-effort, half-attention, half-strength. I want to love him with all my strength.


Seriously, gang, you should see my journal. You should read my prayers. You should hear my conversations. Chad is getting tired of me talking about it (not really, but sort of). And this idea keeps showing up in the books I am reading and the podcasts I am listening to. I cannot stop asking the question. And the question itself is bringing me closer to God's heart.


I just turned 44 years old, and I know my life is short. I am totally okay with that. I'm not trying to turn back the clock or have a mid-life crisis. What I am doing is choosing to be intentional with my life. Every day of it. Every part of it. If God has given me a strength in some aspect of my abilities, intelligence, personality or physical make-up, what am I doing with that? Am I ignoring it because I don't like it? Am I too busy with other activities to give it appropriate attention? Do I doubt God's ability to use that part of me?


So I have laid out all my things before God. My activities and interests and job and personality traits. And I am asking, "What do you want me to focus on? How can I love you best in this world at this time?" I don't have all the answers, but I am gaining clarity. I desperately want to be a good steward of who God created me to be.


With that in mind, you may not see as many posts from me. I am - at the very least - giving a prudent pause to my blog. I still write for me. I still have a lot of one-on-one conversations and a few larger group talks. I still have children who need discipled. I have some patients who need compassion and colleagues who need encouragement. I may have another book rising up inside me. I may even be back here occasionally.


In the meantime, you can find me if you need me.

I will be in my little corner of the world, doing my best to love God with all I have.


Listen, Sarah, the Lord your God, the Lord is one.

Love him with all your heart,

all your soul,

all your mind,

and all your strength.